how to walk outside when skin is made of nervous

first published by great weather for MEDIA


Origami the front page of The New York Times into an airplane. Watch words, carefully cropped photographs, and haunted headlines swoop into the air as you allow the trauma of the world to fly away from you. Inhale and exhale every yoga position you’ve studied. Remember that just waking up is enough to feel like you’ve accomplished something today. Give your mouth permission to shape itself in whatever position it wants; smiles are always optional. Stop when you need to and if you only get past your stoop, that’s OK. Give your body a standing ovation because organs and skin never receive the recognition they deserve. You will get lost, you will eat something that will cause your belly to renounce itself, you will want to hide, want to climb your way toward an unbothered planet, that’s OK. Listen: there is music playing. Your lungs. The trees. Your hair humming against ears. A cardinal calming you toward one more block. Your teeth, settling in to themselves. That woman saying, bless you. Litter like wind chimes against pavement.

i’m looking.i’m looking.i’m looking for…….

“Everyone is looking for something. This culture. They want it now; they want everything,” A woman on the 3 train speaks this out loud to me or the people beside her.

The listener is the one who listens and I’m listening.

We want what exists on the other side of what we have and when we feel like we suddenly have nothing, we will settle for anything. 

My father tells me a story of a man he once knew who was a prisoner of war for seventeen months. He paced around in a tiny cell, giving himself permission to feel self-pity for a limited amount of time: 7 seconds per day. This restriction kept him stronger.

“And if he only used four seconds one day,” my dad explained, “he couldn’t use ten the next day. There was no storing or saving.”

I awake in a bed that is not my own, covered in sweat, my back a place of fire and unforgiveness. Panic presses itself into my chest. I am collapsing even though I am laying down.

Currently, I am looking for (permanent) housing. But more than that, I am searching for the crumbs dropped by my future self to guide me toward this present-tense path. There is no GPS for spirituality.

In 1.2 miles, make a left turn on Enlightenment Road…..

I think it might be time to join Kazim and the one who talks about intentional peace. The writers. Perhaps I have already begun this fast. Perhaps I ought to pay closer attention to the language of moaned organs. When I fast, I will think about what yearns inside me; I will pay closer attention to the appetite of my mind and pulsating heart. When Iftar arrives, I hope to break fast with intention of renewal. Renewing this self into something that can remain.

Many of us do want everything. We buy. We parade. We live out loud on computer screens for others to catalogue the meals we ate or faces we make.  And if we surround ourselves with these things, maybe it says:   I am ok. There is no suffer in me

Or maybe we should turn everything into one thing. One thing to want. Wonder what that could be. Write it out. Manifest if through.